Fifth Point: To which religion did the forefathers of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) belong in the era of interregnum?

FIFTH POINT

You ask, in that period between prophets, did the forefathers of the Allah’s Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) belong to a religion and were they religious?

T h e A n s w e r : There are narrations stating that they were religious in accordance with the vestiges of the religion of Abraham (Upon whom be peace), which, under the veils of heedlessness and spiritual darkness, continued in certain special people. Certainly, the individuals who formed a luminous chain coming from Abraham (Upon whom be peace) and concluding in the Most Noble Messsenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) were not indifferent towards the light of the true religion and were not defeated by the darkness of unbelief. But in accordance with the verse,

Nor would We visit with Our wrath until We had sent a prophet [to give warning],1

the people who live in the time between prophets are among those saved.

It has been stated unanimously that they are not punished for their mistakes in secondary matters. According to Imam Shafi‘i and Imam Ash‘ari, even if they are deniers and do not believe in the fundamentals of faith, they still are among those saved. For responsibility before Allah occurs through the sending of prophets, and when prophets are sent, responsibility is established through knowledge of their mission. Since heedlessness and the passage of time had obscured the religions of the former prophets, they could not provide the proof for the people of that time. If they obeyed the former religion, they will receive reward; if they did not, they will not be punished. For since it was hidden, it could not be a proof.

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1. Qur’an, 17:15.

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